Two UKESF Scholars from the University of Edinburgh recently travelled to India to lead practical electronics workshops with children, contributing to the ground-breaking work undertaken by the Familia organisation near Kolkata.

In April we reported on scholars Ben, Justas and Kasper, who went above and beyond the outreach obligations of their scholarships by developing and running their own hands-on electronics workshop, including building a custom-designed Arduino-based kit and writing supporting documents. The UKESF was delighted to provide funding for the project, which enabled the scholars to purchase enough hardware to take the kit into local schools and run the workshop with students in Scottish Years 4–6 (Key Stages 4 and 5). They also wrote a blog post for us about the experience.

Ben and Kasper teaching in India

In July Ben and Kasper visited Familia in India, an organisation bringing education and care to children (and some elderly people) through a commune of four foster families. They took a total of 60 students aged 14–16 through the workshop, which comprised of three hour-long sessions: a lecture on the underlying theory and concepts, a practical kit-building session, and finally a programming session in the computer lab. The students worked in groups of three, with everyone successfully completing the workshop and many going on to add extra features.

Pupils taking part in the workshop

Ben said, “The exchange was as rewarding for us as it was for the students; STEM outreach has given us valuable skills in communication and organisation, in addition to the unique opportunity to benefit from the enthusiasm of the young students and be invited into another culture. The students were very welcoming and engaged fully with the project, which was facilitated by the staff and teachers who supported our initiative. We had a lot of fun, and from the number of happy faces and hands shaken, we believe everyone else did as well.”

Kasper demonstrating the kit

Kasper said, “Thank you again to the UKESF for the support of the kits. The kids really liked the practical aspect of the workshops (something they don’t often get to do), they were very engaged and the feedback was positive.” The reusable workshop kits were donated to the school with detailed instructions, allowing the workshop to run again in the future. The scholars received funding for the trip and some of the kits through the University of Edinburgh’s Innovative Initiative Grant, while the UKESF supported the scholars by providing resources and advice.

The Familia school

UKESF CEO Stew Edmondson said, “At the UKESF, we encourage our scholars to help us promote Electronics in schools. This project by three of our Edinburgh-based students is an exceptional example; I thoroughly applaud their initiative and commitment.”

Ben and Kasper have put together a short video about their trip: